Painted Wheels

[adsense_id=”4″]Recently there were some discussions on the Z3 message board regarding painting wheels. In response to that discussion I went through my Z3 photo collection looking for photos people may want to see in regard to wheel color and/or painting. In this first photo the owner found some aftermarket wheels that already matched the color of his car (no painting required).

Okay it’s not really painting, but chroming wheels is another way to change the look of your stock wheels. In my opinion chrome adds to the retro look of the Z3, this picture jumped out at me as I was going through my collection because the white and chrome combination looked so good.

If I owned a white Z3 (and someday I may), I would consider painting the wheels white just like this M owner has. The white on white look is fantastic (in my opinion). It reminds me of the early 80’s Porsche 944’s that apparently had a white wheel option if you got the white exterior paint.

Not sure if it’s the quality of these photos or the specific lighting in these photos, but personally I would be after a more flat white look (but that’s just me chasing my memory of the old Porsche white wheels).

Now at the other end of the spectrum (sorry couldn’t resist that pun) we have black wheels. I’m sure this look is very hard to photograph, but these photos don’t appeal to me because you can’t make out any details of the wheels.

You can see more details of the wheel in this photo. Maybe its the matching black exterior paint but this photo makes the black wheels look better than the previous photo. Notice how the dark paint makes the disc brake stand out. Some red caliper paint would really stand out.

Z3 Paint Problems

While in for a service check, I asked the BMW Center of San Antonio, Texas to look at the trunk lid to make an assessment of why the paint was fading. They stated there was nothing they could do and were not sure why it was fading. They thought it was oxidation and tried to buff it out, which did not work. Since the car was past the four year warranty, they would not repair it. Within two months, the faded area spread to almost two-thirds of the trunk lid. Areas on the left rear fender and hood have also appeared. I took the car to a third party paint shop. Their analysis was that the paint was fading between the clear coat and the base paint. If the clear coat got thin enough, it would start peeling off. The only solution is to repaint the affected areas. The fading will only get worse no matter what precautions are taken. Since I have had the vehicle, it has always received the best wax treatment and care. A decision will have to be made whether to invest money into a full vehicle paint job or put it towards a new Z3.

Editors Comments: It’s my impression that BMW Service departments will just about always avoid any kind of paint warranty repairs. I don’t think they are necessarly the guilty party as it’s BMW North America that is ultimately holding the check book. Service departments know they are going to have a hard time getting BMWNA to pay for paint repair warranties and they are just automatically on the defensive. Bottom line, its going to be an up-hill battle and you are probably wasting your time discussing it with the dealerships service advisors. Ask when the BMWNA service rep is going to be in the area and schedule an appointment to meet him. Provide him with the facts, and avoid using the word “internet”.

Custom Stripes

Custom Stripes

Pictures taken at the 2000 Z3 Homecoming

Velvet Blue Z3

Individual Z3 finished in what I believe are Velvet Blue exterior and Light Siepia leather.

Note: The BMW Individual program is currently not available in the US. Velvet Blue was first seen on the 100,000th M car (a 1998 US M roadster) which was on display at the 1998 Z3 Homecoming.

Custom Checkerboard Stripe

It’s vinyl. We had a short thread about it a month ago in the coupe forum. The guy who did it (Lockwood Racing, a bit north of Atlanta) first designed it on the computer, using a Z3 template. Then the computer cut two foot long sections, straight and curved. He picked out the blanks, then attached another sheet of adhesive on top of the vinyl. Peeled of the main adhesive on the vinyl, showing the vinyl’s adhesive surface. Sprayed that with a special solution so it wouldn’t stick immediatley to the car. Applied sheet to car, and he could still move it around. When it was in position, he squeegied the liquid out.

The shop could have done essentially any design, but I liked the checkerboard that they had in their ad. Starts under the driver side headlight, on the air dam, swoops over the hood, down the side, and drapes all the way over the trunk to the drivers rear wheel well.

I am not terribly worried about fading, as my car spends 98% of its life in the garage. It is my daily driver, but I don’t commute. I will probably remove the graphics in a year or so. I used an intermediate quality of vinyl, so it is thicker and has a lower quality adhesive – easier to remove.

The pic I sent was taken at the Churchill Downs autocross in Louisville.